Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has discussed the Schengen-type visa with his counterparts in Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam in recent months, aiming at ensuring seamless mobility for travelers in the countries.

Hailing Thailand’s initiative, Chairman of the UNESCO Hanoi Travel Club Truong Quoc Hung held that the single visa will facilitate rich tourists’ travel, thus increasing tourism revenue, while creating favourable conditions for travel firms to form inter-regional road trips.

Meanwhile, VietSense Travel CEO Nguyen Van Tai highlighted the success story of the Schengen Area, where the application of a single-visa has been benefiting its member states.

“A single visa policy will help Vietnam promote tourism linkages with its neighbours and particularly address the issue of losing out international visitors on current visa barrier”. Therefore, travel firms have high expectations for the establishment of a joint-visa region”.

In the same vein, AZA Travel CEO Nguyen Tien Dat believed that with the single visa policy, the six countries will be able to improve its competitive edge over other ASEAN destinations and tourism powers in Asia like the Republic of Korea, Japan and China.

Vietnam has extended visa exemption for tourists from some 30 countries and territories as compared to over 80 of Thailand, he said, adding joining the initiative will be a quantum leap for Vietnam’s tourism visa policy.

If Vietnam does not jump on the bandwagon, it will lose tourism opportunities and advantages over the five countries, Dat stressed.

From an expert perspective, Dr. Nuno F.Riberiro from RMIT University described this visa arrangement as a great opportunity for Vietnam to attract international visitors who may otherwise visit only Thailand and Malaysia.

Seeing Vietnam’s new visa policy a motive for the growth of foreign tourists, he suggested the country continue extend its visa exemption to attract more visitors, especially considering visa exemption for those from developed countries like Australia, Canada, the US, and the remaining members of the European Union with long stay and high spending.

Deputy Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Ha Van Sieu said that political stability, defence-security and foreign affairs of the six countries should be looked carefully before the single-visa programme is rolled out./. VNA